The Nazi Press’s Smear Campaign
Julius Brandt, a former KPD official and family father who had served over seventeen years in prison and then converted to Christianity in 1933, had assisted at children’s services at St. Martin’s Church in Minden since 1936.
A conflict arose around Brandt after he had distributed a leaflet “Martin Niemöller in a Concentration Camp” in April of 1938 and had claimed that he had not gotten it from Dedeke. The Gestapo consequently interrogated Dedeke and claimed that Brandt had made statements against him. Brandt promptly accused the Gestapo of lying.
A short time later, an article entitled “Convict as Childcare Worker” appeared in the press in Minden. It had been delivered to newspapers by the Reich Propaganda Office of North Westphalia and penned by the Gestapo. The NSDAP even posted this article in its local display cases. It accused Dedeke of not having protected children from the former convict’s harmful influence.
The SS magazine “Das Schwarze Korps” of March of 1939 printed a picture that made Brandt, wearing an apron, look ridiculous. Representatives of the church consequently attempted to justify their conduct and to keep Dedeke out of the affair entirely, whereas “Das Schwarze Korps” in particular expressed its opposition to the pastor and the church with vitriolic articles. The affair was stirred up further by a complaint Dedeke filed against the author of the first article.
All in all, the clash revealed that the difference between the ecclesiastical representatives’ theological position and the Nazi’s weltanschauung was growing larger and larger. While representatives of the church emphasized that the forgiveness of sins could put a former felon like Brandt on a better path, the National Socialists postulated that criminality was genetically defined and ineradicable.
Among other things, the article from “Das Schwarze Korps” of November of 1940 reported on a new pending arrest of Brandt following his indictment for pimping his underage daughter
Source / title
- “Das Schwarze Korps” of November 28, 1940